There seems to be more and more of these restaurant projects where the ceiling becomes an expansive, undulating surface. Maybe it has something to do with acoustics or maybe it has something to do with creating spatial variety, or maybe it has nothing to do with either and is just something a few restaurants have in common.
The three restaurants above are designed by Office dA, LMarchitects, and SO Architecture. They aren’t necessarily the best examples of this trend, but rather these are just three examples showing a variety of how these ceilings appear. So do these ceilings help acoustics? It depends on how they’re built, but it very well could, and this is nothing new.
Alvar Aalto used a similar strategy in the lecture hall of the Viipuri Library built nearly 80 years ago. So maybe these ceilings are better understood as ways to build variety into a space without building walls. In restaurants where tables can be endlessly configured and reconfigured to accommodate hungry folks, isn’t it better to keep walls out of the way? Maybe these ceilings are trying to do both or maybe these are projects more interested in something else entirely, like fabrication. Either way, eating under malleable surfaces may become more commonplace, or it may be another flash in the pan.
If, like me, you’ve always wanted Willy Wonka to exist in real life, you’re in luck, he does. But he’s actually split into two gentlemen and prefers jelly substances over chocolate. Sam Bompas and Harry Parr are the modern day equivalent of the chocolate factory impresario, and since 2007, they’ve been turning the wildest of culinary dreams into whimsical reality as the duo Bompas & Parr. What began as a business constructing architectural gelatin sculptures (which we’ve raved about before), has since morphed into immersive wonderlands that defy imagination.
Teaming with big brands and singular artists alike, they’re always keen to challenge both the palate and the imagination. In the last year, they’ve created everything from a London landmark mini golf course made of gigantic cakes to a neon green, sugar-substitute river with working rowboats on the roof of Selfridges department store. For Mercedes Benz, they offered their take on the American drive thru complete with “Big Merc” burgers sandwiched between doughnuts and salmi-scented air fresheners designed to dangle from rear view mirrors.
Bompas & Parr have also been working with artists to bring otherworldly visions to life. Their collaboration with Ryan Hopkinson involved the exploding of gelatin which, when photographed, resemble intergalactic jellyfish. But lest you think they starting to veer too far astray from Willy Wonka’s candy-based legacy, let me assure you that not only have they designed a chocolate waterfall, they constructed a chocolate climbing wall, too. And their latest endeavor, the cookbook Feasting, lets you bring their magic into your own home. Who wouldn’t want to sip a complex cocktail next to a towering cityscape of ambrosial delights?
I keep coming across impressive motion graphic work from various studios in Argentina. Buenos Aires-based animation and design studio LUMBRE recently did this spot for Pause Fest, a celebration of digital creativity held in Melbourne, Australia. Given the loose theme of “Future”, LUMBRE created an imaginative rendition of what the future of food might look like. That is, if the future was inhabited by models eating some striped pills and going on a flavor trip full of culinary eye candy and eating each other’s whipped cream hairdos. The beginning of the spot also features an impressively detailed architectural imagining of industrialized food production before the flavor tripping begins. Check out some behind-the-scenes shots and more of LUMBRE’s work here.
Leading up to our week of food themed posts, I started to think about who could create a really beautiful food based wallpaper. I wasn’t quite sure who to reach out to, until I started looking through the photos of Michael Graydon that I needed to ask my good friend Michele Miller. Michele is an Art Center grad who studied fine art and illustration and has an incredible talent for drawing, which in my opinion she doesn’t do enough of. She also has an intense love for oysters, just like myself, and in fact we make good oyster eating buddies because we like the opposite types of oysters: I prefer the creamy ones, she likes the briny, salty ones.
As for her wallpaper I think it’s stunning, it’s everything that’s perfect and beautiful about an oyster. Her wallpaper also made me remember how very… carnal oysters are. If Georgia O’Keefe would have made art around foods instead of flowers I think she absolutely would have chosen the oyster. I’m sure that not everyone appreciates oysters the way that Michele and I do, so this wallpaper is dedicated to those like us. Whether you like oysters naked, with lemon or with a bit of mignonette, this wallpaper is for you.
Be sure to check back every Wednesday for a new wallpaper.
I’m a sucker for food packaging. Whether it’s a foreign foods market or the specialty section of the grocery store, I’m attracted to products with panache. Italian artist Anna Rodighiero is equally as afflicted it seems, though she takes her affinity a step further on Packaging Addicted, a blog devoted to illustrating package design. Asking readers to submit photos of their favorite foods or interesting packaging they’ve encountered on trips, Rodighiero then draws her own whimsical version of the products.
She’s tackled everything from Chinese cookies and Nutella to Thai curry paste and English jelly candies. Her addiction encompasses her professional work, too. Aside from creating a version of her resume as a pizza recipe, Rodigheiro has interpreted the work of Julia Child as well as given pickles a whole new identity.
Illustrator Clay Hickson seems to have a thing for both still lifes and food, especially in combination. Hickson gives the still life a turn for the surreal and a heavy dose of geometry and patterning that takes a cue from 1980s design/architecture collective the Memphis Group, but with a contemporary graphic spin that is reminiscent of the hand-drawn psychedelic desert vibes of Steven Harrington‘s work. Sunday Thoughts is a series of illustrations updated weekly alongside Hickson’s prolific body of work, which you can find here.
Some food spaces aren’t about food preparation or presentation, they’re actually inspired by food. When I was a third year architecture student, a professor kept comparing a studiomate’s project to Swiss cheese. So after several iterations the professor still wasn’t happy with, my studiomate built a model out of a block of cheese she purchased from an absurd grocery store named Jungle Jim’s. We all laughed about her semi-sanitary model, but there was something compelling about the porosity of cheese in the first place. There are large buildings like the Rolex Learning Center that look almost as if the architects set out to build a giant slice of cheese, even if most architects cringe at the suggestion that Sanaa would ever do such at a thing.
But some other folks have done such a thing, and done it quite well. The architect here is Kotaro Horiuchi who has offices in both France and Japan. The space here inspired by cheese is – get this – a Parisian cheese boutique Salon du Fromage. The sculpted interior looks exceedingly clean and the porous lighting fixtures cast irregular shadows across the sufaces of boutique, adding to their apparent depth. Like the lighting fixtures, the furniture is custom. I don’t know enough about cheesemongering to know if this place of business makes business sense, but it’s a stunning place to show off cheese, so let’s hope they make some cheddar.
There’s nothing sweeter than honey. Well, unless you count sugar and countless other sweeteners. But it’s arguable that honey is the most natural of sweet treats, and nothing simulates it’s earthy aroma or unctuous slide down the back of your throat. With quite a number of artisanal products on the market, it’s interesting to see an uptick in eye-catching honey packaging design. Designers are opting for simple vessels with minimal adornment which highlights the unique quality of small batch production.
Japan’s Onuma Honey offers a variety of flavors from buckwheat to watermelon. Akaoni Design is responsible for the spare brown paper packaging and petite glass jars which are stamped with muted color motifs depicting the origin of the contents. The Yamagata set box with it’s angular blue mountain range is a personal favorite and stands as a design object all by itself.
Recent design grad, Collin Cummings, did a student rebranding of the ever-popular Savannah Bee Company. Choosing a more modern and industrial approach, his jars are delicately printed and topped with wooden lids. It’s a shame these are only prototypes, though, because they’d make a fantastic limited edition batch.
The London Honey Company began on creator Steve Benbow’s rooftop in Central London. He now has a thriving urban business augmented by Red Stone’s playful branding featuring a cotillion of honey bees in bowler hats. Aside from being able to purchase the honeycomb itself, Benbow also sells honey lip balm and the published story of his beekeeper life. The company’s video is super fun, too.